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Ayrburn Is the Dreamy New Drinking and Dining Destination That's Opened Near Queenstown

Queenstown isn't just a winter destinations — and this dining precinct is here to prove that with six stunning venues (and more to come).
By Ben Hansen
February 29, 2024
By Ben Hansen
February 29, 2024

Surrounded by towering mountain vistas, Ayrburn is the brand-new must-visit destination in New Zealand's Arrowtown, just 20 minutes from Queenstown. The ambitious precinct already features six venues plus its own vineyard — and it's expanding. Still to come is a flagship fine-diner, a butcher, a bakehouse, luxury housing and a hotel right by a waterfall.

The mind behind the project, Chris Meehan of Winton Property Group, hopes the destination can become the top most visited attraction in Queenstown, with the precinct designed to be a year-round hub for holidays. Snow-capped mountains in the winter, mild summers that never tip past 30 degrees, and Arrowtown's famous changing of the leaves in autumn provide the backdrop for a genuinely impressive food and drink program.

As you wander through the precinct, the smell of a fire and the sound of a trickling creek are never too far away. This idyllic atmosphere persists across the six distinct venues that are already open at Ayrburn, each of which serves its own purpose.

The Menure Room (named after its previous occupation) serves as a hybrid wine bar, pub and cellar door. The menu here provides pieces of advice like "drink some wine, talk some sh*t", with Central Otago vino at the centre of its offerings — particularly Ayrburn's own already award-winning range. You can taste your way through these outstanding drops with the wine flight of your choice, pairing the samples with moreish share plates of gildas, chicken liver parfait on brioche, and caramelised cauliflower croquettes.

The Woolshed has more of a focus on homely cooking and sizeable cuts of meat, functioning as a sleek yet approachable bistro for long lunches and celebratory dinners. Must-try menu highlights here include the Southland venison tataki paired with nashi pair, spring onion, togarashi and coriander; and the grilled octopus with a chilli sesame dressing.

There's three more venues comprising The Burr Bar, a breezy spot up on the hill serving inventive takes on margaritas and gin sours; The Dairy, where you'll find scoops of black forest or salted caramel ice cream; and The Dell, an outdoor meeting area built to facilitate events and live entertainment.

The latest space to open at Ayrburn is the Barrel Room — a moody private bar and diner lined with wine barrels and sporting a lavish fitout complete with a baby grand piano. Shut out from the outside world with low lighting and an expansive dining room, this hidden adult playground will have you whiling away the hours over great food and wine, losing track as time passes by.

Yet to arrive is the flagship venue Billy's which will open towards the end of 2024. Set in a huge homestead-style building, the 170-capacity pièce de résistance of the Ayrburn dining precinct has been billed as an experiential dining experience with each room consisting of its own unique theme.

Open 12 months of the year, Ayrburn is another reason to spend a ski season hitting the slopes in Queenstown, but it's also a reminder that New Zealand's show-stoppingly stunning South Island should be at the top of your travel hit list all year round, especially for any foodies and all of the wine aficionados out there.

You'll find Ayrburn at 1 Ayr Avenue, Arrowtown. Head to the precinct's website for more information on each of its venues.

Published on February 29, 2024 by Ben Hansen
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